NREL Receives Recognition for Renewable Biomass Heating System at Golden, CO Headquarters

Biomass Thermal Energy Council recognizes biomass heating facility as part of NREL's renewable energy commitment

Washington, DC - July 17, 2013 - Today, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) became the latest participant in the Biomass Green Heat Registered Site Program in recognition of the lab's wood chip heating systems. The initiative is part of the national non-profit Biomass Thermal Energy Council's (BTEC) ongoing acknowledgement of biomass heating systems. The recognition award plaque is located in NREL's lobby.

"The biomass heating system at NREL uses 2,100 tons of wood chips, provides 40 percent of the facility's heating needs, and displaces as much fossil fuel as is needed to heat 350 average American homes per year," stated Chris Gaul, Project Manager at NREL. "Since the wood chips are collected from forest thinning operations in the area, the system also helps reduce dangerous wildfires in the area, which is a significant source of carbon emissions and a threat to human health."

"I am pleased that NREL can now show visitors how they are achieving their commitment to renewable energy. Converting a heating system to run on biomass is one of the cheapest ways to achieve significant carbon reduction and save tax payers' dollars," said Joseph Seymour, Executive Director of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council. "NREL is leading by example."

Unlike solar panels and wind turbines, biomass heating systems often lack visibility, and therefore system owners do not receive the same kind of recognition for their efforts to generate renewable energy. The recognition program addresses this issue by highlighting the biomass heating system in a prominent place and informing visitors about a site's renewable energy system.

Biomass heating systems have numerous significant benefits to a community. Aside of reducing reliance on fossil fuels, they also help use local forest resources, inject revenue in the local economy, create jobs, and help improve forest health.

Not all thermal installations qualify for the program, as eligible biomass heating installations must meet several key requirements, including fuel sourcing and energy production. The site must use the biomass thermal system for at least 25% of its annual heating needs and may only use wood, agricultural resources, or combination thereof.

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